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Net Notes November 2006
Web sites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Linkpendium Surpasses Five Million Links
Five million. Even when it comes to the Internet, that’s a big number.

Linkpendium,, has announced that it now boasts more than five million genealogy links. Founders Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson, also founders of RootsWeb,, said they have categorized close to 550,000 links relating to US localities. The bulk of the links on Linkpendium though, are categorized by surnames worldwide, with nearly 4.5 million entries.

“Linkpendium is by far the largest directory to genealogical resources on the web,” said Leverich in a release. “It is, to our knowledge, the second largest human-edited directory of any kind on the web.”

Genealogists and regular visitors are invited to recommend websites to add to the growing list. In general, submissions are reviewed and, if accepted, added within two weeks.

Leverich also said that as the database of links continues to grow, Linkpendium is looking to expand its localities listings to other countries. The site also plans to add more categories, offering links to websites that do not fit into the Surname or Locality sections. — John Mather

The Iron Range Research Center
The Iron Range Research Center (IRRC),, is located in the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota. Though most of its resources focus on this region, the IRRC is also a wonderful resource for finding records of the upper Midwest.

I learned about the IRRC while researching two Finnish brothers, Johan and Matti Blom (from Ylistaro, Vaasa) who migrated to Eveleth, St. Louis County, Minnesota in the early 1900s.
The IRRC’s collection contains about 7,500 books, 12,000 microfilm reels, 66,000 maps and more than 150,000 photographs. Of interest to genealogists is the online index that holds close to 1.5 million name entries.

The IRRC also provides research services for a fee.
The database is easy to search by first name, last name, county and record type. The types of records currently indexed are: Birth; cemetery; marriage; naturalization index; obituary/death (Minnesota death records, 1900-17 only); Chippewa census; mine accident; high school index; name index; arrest; and the Minnesota Alien Registration of 1918.

A search on John Blom and Matt(i) Blom in St. Louis County, yielded these cemetery entries:
Name John Blom Matt Blom
M/F Male Male
Date at Death 10/8/1921 1/8/1918
State Minnesota Minnesota
Age at Death -- --
Block 7 7
Lot 43 17
Grave 2 1
Cemetery Eveleth Eveleth
With this information, I requested a search of the death index and obtained the death certificates for a fee. This revealed the addresses, spouses, occupations, ages, manners of death, etc. for the brothers. The City Directories for Eveleth were also consulted by the Center staff.

Learning about Matti was interesting since family lore said he had been killed as the result of a railroad accident. The researcher discovered that he was actually killed at a logging camp. The Eveleth newspaper reported on the death in gruesome detail.

Some other unique records that you can obtain for a fee are mining fatality and accident reports (specify St. Louis, Itasca or Crow Wing Counties), and newspaper items — Iron Range and Duluth events, birth/death announcements, etc.

I found the staff very helpful in answering queries via e-mail and directing me to other local resources. Though my research focused on Minnesota, the Resource Center also has materials for Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota and other locales.
— Diane Richard

The British National Digital Library and
The British Library,, is the national library of the United Kingdom, and holds a vast collection of 58 million newspapers, 13 million books, 7 million manuscripts, 4.5 million maps, 56 million patents, 3.5 million sound recordings and 8 million stamps.

Historically, the British Library has taken a leading role in utilizing technology, especially in regards to the Internet. Continuing the trend, the library is now working to create the National Digital Library — a searchable database of millions of the British Library’s records.

In 2005, the library announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to digitize 25 million pages from 100,000 out-of-copyright books now, with a long-term commitment to digitize more in the future. MSN Book Search will deliver the search results.

Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, said, “The items digitized will be available to anyone, anywhere and at any time.”

The National Digital Library will also include a substantial portion of the Library’s early British newspaper collection. This effort will provide searchable online access to two million pages of the 19th-century newspaper collection by September 2006. A pilot of this project is now available online at

The search facility is very easy to use, and the results screen shows: Date, the newspaper’s name, a relevancy score, an extract from the newspaper page with the search word and more information about the article.

Users can choose to display the article or view the newspaper page itself. When a newspaper page is displayed, the article is highlighted. You click on the article to get a larger image. The article can then be printed, e-mailed or downloaded as a pdf file.
The quality of the digital newspaper pages and articles at the pilot site is excellent.

The pilot site notes that the content of the website can change at anytime. In addition, not all the features of the full edition are available.

The British Library’s newspaper holdings occupy more than 20 miles of shelves and eight miles of microfilm shelf space — all these newspapers are an important resource for genealogists.
The digitization of these newspapers by the British Library will provide genealogists access to a resource that previously could only be consulted by going to London.

The planned launch of the British newspaper collection is expected to include nearly 50 old British newspapers, from the daily Pall Mall Gazette (1865-1900) to the weekly Hull Packet (1800-86) to the Freeman’s Journal (1820-1900). — S.C. Meates

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